The day after Thanksgiving in recent times has become known as “Black Friday,” a day where retail businesses who have been in the red recoup losses while profitable firms widen their income margins. The day is also a supposed boon for consumers where goods are significantly discounted and new products are first displayed.
The Establishment has long since been a promoter of Black Friday, encouraging Americans, with often patriotic rhetoric, of their duty to frequent shopping malls and the like despite economic conditions or safety concerns from either domestic unrest or international threats.
While not explicit about post-Thanksgiving Day shopping, President Obama made it a point to reassure Americans about their security in light of the recent Paris attacks: “It’s understandable that people worry something similar could happen here. As we go into Thanksgiving weekend, I want the American people to know that we are taking every possible step to keep our homeland safe.”*
The financial press and academia are also big proponents of Black Friday since they are under the mistaken Keynesian belief that consumer spending is the most important component of economic life and the key indicator in the measuring of growth. Thus, retail sales over this period and up until Christmas are closely monitored by financial commentators.
Like most things in the modern world, however, such thinking belies logic and common sense, but typifies why society is in its current deplorable state both economically and culturally.
Despite what clueless politicians may say or what the dominant media may espouse, economic growth does not come about through greater amounts of consumer spending. Instead, prosperity can only be achieved through production and exchange, which itself can only take place when savings have been accumulated. Since production takes place over time, savings are the necessary means for this process to take place, the end result of which is consumer goods.
Without production, there can be no consumer spending. An economy, as for the individual, must first “produce” in order to “consume.” Most economists and politicians have it backwards.
Yet, the Obama Administration has wantonly put up impediments for the creation of wealth with its crazed regulatory policies, profligate spending, confiscatory taxation, and its epic money printing, all of which has done nothing to improve conditions, but have made them considerably worse.
Instead of encouraging people to go out and spend money, which many do not have, the chief executive should be promoting and enacting polices that lead to greater savings and investment. One simple step would be to immediately replace Janet Yellen with a Federal Reserve chairman that would allow interest rates to rise to market levels, which would induce people to save.
Besides financial betterment, the act of saving reinforces commendable human traits, such as self reliance and discipline, characteristics that are sorely lacking in America and most Western nation states. A true progressive society is not “consumer oriented,” but one which rewards producers and savers.
Black Friday is the start of the “holiday shopping season,” which has replaced the legitimate meaning of this time, which is Advent. If the world had its priorities in order, it would be preparing to commemorate the birth of the Divine Savior. Advent is a penitential season, one of sacrifice and self abnegation, not that of gluttonous and often drunken partying and needless purchases of the latest consumer good fad.
None in the dominant media have put forth the possibility that the recent Paris attacks were retribution for the nearly complete secularization of what was once a holy season. Was it just a coincidence that one of the attacks took place at a concert hall where the California based rock band, Eagles of Death Metal, was in the midst of performing a “song” whose title was “Kiss the Devil?”
While most of the modern world continues to ignore it, the Incarnation is the seminal event in human history. Only misery, hardship and despair awaits those who persist in denying this fundamental truth.
Until America, and, for that matter, the Western world recognizes the absurd notion that consumer spending is not a pathway to economic wellbeing and, more importantly, remembers the significance and importance of Christmas, the economic and cultural rot will only continue.
*Pamela Engel, “Two Days After Massive Terror Alert, Obama Says There’s No ‘Credible’ Threat to U.S.” Business Insider. 25 November 2015.